The Costs and Implications of Our Demand for Energy: A Comparative and Comprehensive Analysis of the Available Energy Resources

The Costs and Implications of Our Demand for Energy: A Comparative and Comprehensive Analysis of the Available Energy Resources (2018)

223 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2018

Date Written: June 3, 2018

Abstract

La version française de cet article peut être consultée à: http://ssrn.com/abstract=3189740.

Today, the world is experiencing the full brunt of an energy crisis because our energy resources are a global challenge. From their discovery, their exploitation, and their storage to their distribution and their usage, they pose tremendous risks and threats both to our health and the environment. The challenge also stems from the facts that: technology does not create energy, transforming energy is expensive, and energy transitions – for example, switching from fossil fuels to, say solar energy – take time. The demand for energy is here to stay because the two fundamental factors that fuel it are inherent to mankind. These are population growth and economic activities. The world population is increasing at an astonishing rate of 1.1 percent per year or 83 million people per year. It’s projected that the current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030; 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. Energy is the cornerstone of our survival. Unfortunately, the picture is not perfect considering that each source of energy has its downsides and challenges. Among recent controversies: risk of accidents and leaks posed by offshore drilling, the Keystone pipeline, the Fukushima nuclear plant accident, health and environmental risks of coal mining, hydrologic fracturing, nuclear wastes, rising costs of mineral resources, and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Putting a meaningful price on CO₂ emissions is viewed by many as integral to achieving the 2° C climate goal. The current picture, however, reveals significant challenges relating to the geographic coverage of carbon markets, the prevailing price levels and, in some cases, the need for market reform. Carbon emissions trading schemes in operation in 2014 covered 3.7 Gt (11 %) of global energy-related CO₂ emissions and had an aggregate value of $26 billion. The average price was around $7 per ton of CO₂. In contrast, 4.2 Gt (13%) of global energy related CO₂ emissions from the use of fossil fuels receive consumption subsidies, with the implicit subsidy amounting to $115 per ton of CO₂, on average… It's important to note that climate change could also trigger a massive reduction in global population. People need land, water, food, and shelter and often satisfy these needs by destroying wild nature. But it is not just a matter of sheer numbers, for the amount of resources consumed by each person is what really makes a difference to our impact on the planet.

Keywords: Energy, Climate change, Economics of energy, Energy efficiency, Energy security, Fossil fuels, Green energy, Nuclear energy, Future of energy

Suggested Citation

Dufour, Fritz, The Costs and Implications of Our Demand for Energy: A Comparative and Comprehensive Analysis of the Available Energy Resources (June 3, 2018). The Costs and Implications of Our Demand for Energy: A Comparative and Comprehensive Analysis of the Available Energy Resources (2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189719

Fritz Dufour (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

New York, NY

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